Skip to main content

Kant on Moral Illusion and Appraisal of Others

  • David Hakim (a1)

Kant’s accounts of moral education, appraisal respect and gratitude each depend on the assumption that human beings see and judge each other’s actions to be morally good. This assumption appears to stand in tension with the Opacity Thesis, Kant’s claim that we can never know if an action is morally good. This paper examines Kant’s discussion of moral illusion to relieve this tension. It is argued that we are required to uphold moral illusion, i.e. to represent others’ actions to be morally good (while knowing that we may be mistaken), due to the duty of beneficence for others’ moral well-being.

Corresponding author
Hide All
Baron, Marcia W. (2002) ‘Love and Respect in the Doctrine of Virtue ’. In Mark Timmons (ed.) Kant’s Metaphysics of Morals Interpretative Essays. (New York: Oxford University Press), pp. 391407.
Darwall, Stephen (2008) ‘Kant on Respect, Dignity, and the Duty of Respect’. In Monika Betzler (ed.) Kant’s Ethics of Virtue. (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter), pp. 175199.
Frierson, Patrick (2005) ‘The Moral Importance of Politeness in Kant’s Anthropology’. Kantian Review, 9, 105127.
Guyer, Paul (2012) ‘Examples of Moral Possibility’. In Klas Roth and Chris W. Surprenant (eds) Kant and Education: Interpretations and Commentary. (New York: Routledge), pp. 124138.
Herman, Barbara (1993) The Practice of Moral Judgment. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Klimchuk, Dennis (2004) ‘Three Accounts of Respect for Persons in Kant’s Ethics’. Kantian Review, 8, 3861.
Moran, Kate (2016) ‘Much Obliged: Kantian Gratitude Reconsidered’. Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie, 98, 330363.
O’Neill, Onora (1975) Acting on Principle. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Smit, Houston, and Timmons, Mark (2011) ‘The Moral Significance of Gratitude in Kant’s Ethics’. Southern Journal of Philosophy, 49, 295320.
Smith, Adam (1982) The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Ed. D. D. Raphael and A. L. Macfie. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund.
Ware, Owen (2009) ‘The Duty of Self-Knowledge’. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 79, 671698.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Kantian Review
  • ISSN: 1369-4154
  • EISSN: 2044-2394
  • URL: /core/journals/kantian-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 8
Total number of PDF views: 60 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 218 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 24th August 2017 - 22nd June 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.